BHS building planners talk hyper-efficiency during design of new BHS 100 Building

BHS building planners talk hyper-efficiency during design of new BHS 100 Building

The Bainbridge Island School Board received an update on the early concepts and ideas for the new BHS 100 Building at its meeting last week.

Tamela Van Winkle, the school district’s director of capital projects, made it clear to those in attendance that the presentation would only be the beginnings of conceptualizations for the 100 Building’s design plan.

“What you’re going to see tonight is just a tremendous amount of brainstorming,” Van Winkle said.

“No decisions have been made; we are just thinking and listening and responding and working,” she added.

Last year island residents voted to approve an $81.2 million bond for district capital projects; $30 million of that bond was outlined for the construction of the new 100 Building.

District officials cited numerous reasons for the replacement of the 100 Building (which currently houses the career and technical education, special education and arts programs), including its inability to meet current seismic codes, failing mechanical systems, lack of a fire sprinkler system, an auditorium that was in poor condition and chronic water infiltration in below-grade areas.

Even though the project is still in early development, JoAnn Wilcox, an architect with Mahlum, noted during the presentation that recent trends of escalating construction costs have caused the group to already begin examining where efficiencies can be made.

“Looking at efficiency strategies, given budget challenges that are happening within the market; contractor availability and other pieces that are happening, we’re just creating the brainstorm with Tamela and her team; what some opportunities might be with regard to if we hit a place where we need to have some harder discussions,” Wilcox said.

Board Vice President Mev Hoberg said later that the cost problems encountered with the new Captain Johnston Blakely Elementary are sure to be found in the 100 Building replacement project.

“I know the 100 Building project will face the same economic situation that the Blakely project is facing,” Hoberg said, citing cost escalation and a recent saturation of school construction bids in the Puget Sound region.

In the early talks about how to make hyper-efficient use of space at the new building, Wilcox talked briefly about the possibility of incorporating a small black box theater into the lobby of the larger theater. Integrating a black box into the lobby would allow space for smaller performances and practice when the large theater is not in use.

“We are trying to understand the variety of ways different performances take place in the hopes that we can design a multi-purpose space,” Van Winkle said.

Others agreed.

“As one of the many options, we are exploring the possibility of designing the theater lobby as a black box performance space that will maximize programmatic opportunities while continuing to minimize square footage and cost,” Wilcox later said in an email to the Review.

Hoberg also noted the importance of making efficient use of space that would otherwise serve a singular purpose as a lobby for the larger theater.

“If we could figure out how to turn an underutilized lobby into something like that, I’d support it,” she said.

Schematic design for the 100 Building is set to begin in September.

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